At California colleges, only “Yes” means “Yes” — next should be criminal code

California is the first state to require all colleges & universities that receive state aid to define sexual assault as any sexual act committed without affirmative permission. Some colleges have adopted that definition, but no other state has made it a requirement.

The Christian Science Monitor report is here.

The next step for California should be to amend it’s rape statutes to reflect the same requirement: that is, to eliminate the force and non-consent elements, as New Jersey has done.

The New Jersey Supreme Court, way back in 1992, provided the most simple & sensible argument for eliminating force and consent requirements found in most sexual assault statutes :

“The role of the factfinder is not to decide whether reasonable people may engage in acts of penetration without the permission of others. The Legislature answered that question when it enacted the reformed sexual assault statute: reasonable people do not engage in acts of penetration without permission, and it is unlawful to do so. In Re MTS, 609 A.2d 1266, 1279 (1992).

How can one disagree with the bold statement? (bold added).

Public hearings in CT seek victim input into the future of government support for Victims

Hearing dates:
10/20/14, 6:00-8:00PM, Albertus Magnus College, New Haven
10/27/14, 5:30-7:30PM, Hartford Public Library, Hartford
11/5/14, 6:00-8:00PM, Three Rivers Community College, Norwich

This info does not seem to be on their website, but a SURVEY for VICTIMS is there:

Montana Teacher who raped his student & was sentenced to just 31 days, resentenced to 10 years

Sentenced to an illegally short 31 day sentence by a judge who said the teen victim “didn’t look like a child,”  a Montana high school teacher was resentenced to 15 years, 5 of which were suspended.

The first judge has announced he will retire at the end of the year.

When will we spend money on women, children and the elderly, who our society claims to care most about?

Is there any politician who does not claim to be deeply concerned about women, children and the elderly? Yet, in a capitalist society where worth is supposedly indicated by salary levels, we grossly underfund sexual assault and child crisis services, and grossly underpay child advocates, teachers, and, as shown in the linked story in the New York Times, home health aides.

In Victim Rights Center’s practice, we find too often that the criminal justice system is ill-prepared to recognize or to remedy our sexual assault and child abuse crises. Some police agencies are victim-centered, trained in victimology, and aggressively investigate reports of sexual assault or child abuse.  Two in CT that quickly come to mind are Watertown and Yale University. Others endorse rape myths, presuming that victims of these crimes are lying, while looking for reason NOT to pursue those investigations, because they are time intensive and difficult. This is not necessarily because the individual officers don’t care — mostly it is because they are not trained properly. Yet who has a training budget anymore?

The article from the New York Times shows starkly how we have created a system of elderly care that routinely mistreats the patient and optimizes the profits of the corporate health care juggernaut. 

When will we get our priorities straight?


Advocates are the sexual abuse first responders – nobody is more important

The woman featured in the article below did a wonderful job, that led to a broadly publicized sexual abuse case. She did it modestly, treating it like every other case she has done over the years. In Connecticut, and in every other state there are similar women & men working every day to help victims. They do a stressful and often frustrating service for sadly low pay, and without adequate financial resources.


Jessica Dershem is a symbol for them all. We should thank them everyday.

Title IX – What to do if you are sexually assaulted on campus – and ways to minimize the chance

The latest from Attorney James Marsh & Title IX on Campus contains some advice on keeping safe aimed at college freshmen. Some argue that advicates should only focus on the offender and not put the burden on potential victims to avoid predators. We agree that the primarily focus should always be on the offender and his/her actions, VRCCT believes this post  provides helpful information on how to avoid the offender that many college freshmen may not know. It accurately points out that predators are on the prowl especially at the beginning of the semester. So, we approve of the public safety aspects of the post, and also it’s advice for those who become victims.